Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Plot Thickens

Today's kindergarten tour was the most confusing yet. I guess after two wowza tours I was expecting them all to be like that, to be plunged ever deeper into the bottomless pool of quandary, but...I guess not.

And to make it even weirder, today's school was the one I assumed would end up being "the one." It's across the street from Jarrah's preschool, and people often joke that the preschool is a feeder for this school's kindergarten.

But I wasn't feeling the love. And I am big on feeling the love. It's how I've made most of the important decisions in my life.

It was also weird because this was the biggest dog and pony show on our schedule. David took the whole morning off from work because it was scheduled 10:30 - 12:30. It was even called "Kindergarten Forum" instead of just being a tour.

It began in the auditorium with a welcome from the principal. The joint was jumping. Several babies tried to take my seat. That was all pretty standard. And then the very first person she introduced was a super-enthused gal who runs the after-school program, a sort of paid day care that lasts until six. She was really sweet and talked for quite some time. And I kept thinking, What is the message here? We haven't heard word one about this school, and now I know everything about what happens after it's over.

Then we heard about the PTA for a long time. I wasn't sure which made me more tired--contemplating all the volunteering I was not-so-subtly being asked to do, or wondering how long it took for each of these gals to get their fabulous blond highlights.

Then the principal came back and talked about what they serve for hot lunch. And now I was thinking, Where is the pitch? When do you tell us why we should want our child to go here? I seemed to be missing that part.

Our tour of the classrooms was led by a smiling lady who never made a sound. She walked us through the school (nothing to write home about) and pointed to the garden, the playground, other stuff that I couldn't identify because there was no sound. I whispered to David, "This is the mute tour." And for some reason, that set me off on a giggle fit. I giggled my way through the rest of the soundless tour, in which we shuffled en masse in and out of each kindergarten classroom.

There was some aimless standing around, during which I confided my skepticism to David, and he said he knew what I meant. Then we realized everyone was in the library (the instructions must have been silent) and we hurried in to hear the school nurse talk about shots.

Finally, the three kindergarten teachers (on their lunch break) came in and held up a sign with four talking points. These were:

1. We cover material that the government would like your children to know.
2. Don't pack chips--think fruit or cheese.
3. On the first day, "kiss and go."
4. Send a backpack with a change of clothes in case your child pees, but otherwise, don't send anything.

Despite the bare-bones approach, I found myself liking all three of the teachers. They had a wry, I've-seen-it-all-and-survived kind of intelligence in their eyes. That was the best part of the morning, meeting them.

The program ended with scary talk about how difficult it is to choice into the school, but you shouldn't give up hope. Maybe they don't have to sell themselves, I thought. Maybe everyone is clamoring to get in and I'm just missing something. What am I missing? I don't know, since they didn't seem to mention it. Oh, there was some talk about overhead projectors and how they are good for displaying grubs. I remember that now.

But I'm really annoyed with myself because I don't feel drawn to this school at all. But it's so popular. So I must be thinking with my heart instead of my head. Which is a clever way I get myself into trouble on a regular basis. Must. Be. Rational. But how?


Mrs. Chapman's 2nd Grade Class said...

Overhead projectors?? Wow! I haven't used an overhead in years! We have SMART boards and digital cameras. I'm not overly impressed with the tour or what the teachers told you. That kind of stuff can wait til meet the teacher night or kindergarten information night. You need some wow factor for a tour like this. It's the time to sell you on it! Just my two cents though.

Sam said...

Jennifer, I COUNT on your two cents in particular! :) Especially on this issue!

Maybe they said "LIKE overhead projectors." So maybe they are smart boards? I'll Google those now. ;)

Mrs. Chapman's 2nd Grade Class said...

I use my document camera in place of my overhead. I don't have to make transparencies and it can display anything on the board that I put under it.

The SMART board is AMAZING! It's similar to a white board, but 1,000% better! I can display a webpage and instead of sitting at my computer and clicking on everything, the students come up to the board and it's interactive. It makes teaching and learning so much more fun!! I am sure some schools don't have them because of the cost. I guess I am lucky we have invested in technology.

Stephanie said...

Ths is hysterical! A mute school can not possibly be the one for you! Good that the teachers were the best part, my hope is they are the best part of every school, but what about the rest?

I say consider yourself lucky the choice is narrowed by one and don't look back.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

I'm just mute over here taking notes, knowing I have this in my future. And yes, I'll be distracted by all the blond highlights too.

Mary said...

Wow! "Kindergarten Forum?" Sounds fancy.

Jennifer is right. SMART Boards rock. They are amazing! But, perhaps grubs require special handling and prefer older technology and they wanted to point that out?

Maybe they are up to date in the tech way and have S. Boards as well?

Best of luck to you! I wish she was coming to my kindergarten!!!